June 27, 2009

Bishops urge G8 to combat global poverty


by David Masters

Leading Catholic bishops from rich-world countries have written to the G8 demanding “concerted action” to protect the world’s poorest citizens during the economic crisis.

Signatories to the letter include Vincent Nichols, Archbishop of Westminster, and Keith Patrick O’Brien, Archbishop of Edinburgh and St Andrews, as well as bishops from the US, Canada, Germany, France, Italy Russia, and Japan.

Quoting Pope Benedict XVI’s letter to Gordon Brown ahead of the G20 London meeting, the prelates warned that aid and assistance to majority world countries must not become a “victim” of the credit crunch.

“Ironically poor people have contributed the least to the economic crisis facing our world, but their lives and livelihoods are likely to suffer the greatest devastation because they struggle at the margins in crushing poverty,” the Bishops wrote.

“In light of this fact, the G8 nations should meet their responsibility to promote dialogue with other powerful economies to help prevent further economic crises.”

The bishops encouraged “deepening partnerships” with majority world nations to help citizens of these countries become “active agents” in the fight against poverty.

Prime Minister Gordon Brown responded by thanking the Catholic Church for its work helping the poor and vulnerable around the world.

“The UK will continue to make every effort to ensure protection of the world’s poorest remains central to this year’s G8 Summit, which should provide a stepping stone to the G20 meeting later this year,” Brown said.

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